To read part 1 in this series, click here.
The opposite side of a brand promise is a consumer belief. Healthcare organizations, like all organizations, overtly or inadvertently make a promise of what a consumer can expect when they interact with the brand. The consumer builds a belief around an organization keeping its promise based on their collective experiences with the brand. Promise made (the organization), promise kept (the consumer belief).
This relationship between promise and belief is also the leverage point internally within the organization, and the key to delivering the brand promise across the healthcare continuum. Do your employees hold the necessary set of beliefs to consistently deliver the brand promise?
Culture is a shared set of beliefs that drive behavior
Culture is simply a shared set of beliefs that drive behavior. Notice the relationship between beliefs and behavior in that sentence. Belief first, then behavior. Many leaders forget this relationship and put the vast majority of their energy into driving behavior. They are often then disappointed when they do not see the results they had hoped for.
Think about this relationship at a personal level for a minute. How long do you continue to practice a behavior if you don’t hold a broader belief that the behavior is important? Not very long. It is often said that you can tell what someone believes based on their behavior.
Let’s apply this to healthcare. What do the members of your organization need to believe in order to support delivery of the brand promise? How can you articulate those beliefs in such a way that they are relevant across the continuum of healthcare environments, and the continuum of your employees who represent a broad range of skills, expertise and levels of education?
Apply the beliefs in the range of healthcare environments
As you think about the key beliefs of your healthcare organization, apply them to different environments to test their relevance. Does the belief have relevance in the ER, the physician’s office, the urgent care clinic, etc. Building a framework of these types of beliefs and connecting them to the brand promise is step one.
Once this framework is in place, now examine the specific behaviors within each environment that will demonstrate this belief to the consumer. Many of these behaviors will be the same from one environment to another, but some healthcare environments might demand, or benefit from, a distinct behavior that is only relevant to them and has specific value to the consumer in only that environment. That’s okay. As long as the behaviors in each healthcare environment stem from the shared beliefs of the organization, they ultimately support the effective delivery of experiences that keep the brand promise.
Build culture by folding beliefs into every aspect of work
Once the specific behaviors for each healthcare environment are defined and introduced, now the opportunity exists to fold them into every aspect of work performed by those teams. Integrate them into the training. Talk about and practice them at team huddles. Make them part of employee evaluations. Build them into the rewards structure. Don’t let the core beliefs simply live on some plaque on the wall. Bring them alive in every way possible within the environment and as part of the way the work gets done. By continuing to focus on the beliefs of the organization, and the behaviors relevant to each role, you build a culture that is supporting the delivery of your promise to customers.
The steps are fairly simple but the challenge is in properly defining what is relevant for your organization, then infusing it into your culture across the continuum. Begin with a promise, articulate the beliefs that are necessary to keep that promise, build out behaviors specific to each setting that demonstrate those organizational beliefs, then infuse this framework into all aspects of the work of your teams.
For other thoughts on culture and the brand promise, be sure to explore these articles: